Frieda Ferrick: A Story of Love, Hope and Courage

I think we can agree that all families have stories………some might be tall tales that one might question, others might be more subtle and understated.  Some stories may show pride in ancestral heritage and others might be silenced by shame, misunderstanding or the inability to speak the unspeakable.  Children in these families are often kept in the dark so they listen in on whispered conversations, sometimes in foreign tongues,  seeking to make sense of the unsaid and creating meaning and understanding for themselves as they navigate the family landscape.

My guest this week on KOWS Wise Woman Storytime, Frieda Ferrick grew up in such a family – where the past was unspoken and the stories eventually unwoven, although perhaps never completely revealed.

A child of Holocaust survivors, Frieda slowly wove the threads of her parents earlier years together.  It’s  taken her years to piece her father and mothers story together and she still is exploring its impact on the people closest to her, the ones she never knew, the generations to follow and herself. 

In this week’s show, Frieda reflects on her most recently completed book. Following Stories My Family Could Not Tell and Stories I Must Tell You, her third book in this trilogy offers us all a path to finding connection, optimism, and bravery during this and other turbulent times.  Stories of Love, Hope and Courage has never been more relevant and important. 

You can find out more about Frieda and purchase her books at and listen to her story below……

By Roberta Teller


Susan Lamont: An Activist’s Path to Justice for All

Whether we’re aware of it or not, we are all on a path….some paths may  twist and turn  and and take us off in unimaginable directions…..others may be straight and steady with goals checked off at each end point as new ones are quickly created. Some of our paths are influenced by family and the values we learn in our early years and some paths are influenced by curiosity, and openness,……..even dreams, intuitions, synchronicities, coincidence  and perhaps a bit of magic. Some of our paths are a hodgepodge of all of the above.

My guest this week on KOWS Wise Woman Storytime, Susan Lamont has been a feminist most of her life.  While always politically conscious, her activism became energized and more focused around 2000. Today’s story is about the intersection of all of the above……how the values in a family inform us; how the coincidences of our lives influence us and how synchronicity, a little bit of magic, a determination to live in a just world and the sheer grit and willingness to roll up our sleeves and jump in, transforms us into our best selves. 

Susan Lamont is currently actively involved in social justice work through the Police Brutality Coalition, the Green Party of Sonoma County, the local chapter of Veterans For Peace, It Won’t Happen Here and 100 Thousand Poets for Change. You can contact Susan at


El Chess: Healing Herself and Helping Others to Heal Themselves

We cannot ignore the high incidence of child abuse in our country nor can we look the other way at the impact abuse has on the child and the adult survivor. 

Here are some facts:*

          2.9 million cases of child abuse are reported every year in the United States.

          1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys will be sexually abused before they reach age 18.

          Children who experience child abuse and neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit violence crime.

          90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way. 68% are abused by a family member.

          About 80% of 21-year-olds who were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.

          Approximately 5 children die every day because of child abuse.

 And here are some consequences of adults who were abused as children:  **            

          Physical health problems

          Emotional health problems


          Alcohol and substance abuse

          High risk sexual behavior

          Eating disorders

          Intergenerational transfer of abuse and neglect

          High risk sexual behaviors

My guest this week on Wise Woman Storytime El Chess, suffered horrific abuse as a child. Her earlier years were fraught with degradation, deprivation, neglect, emotional abuse and dehumanizing conditions. It has been her lifetime commitment to do the deep inner work of breaking the constraints of shame, speaking the unspeakable and  learning to love herself that has forged her path towards living a fulfilling, happy and successful life today.

El’s goal is to share the practices and teachings that have helped her thrive so that others may also live happy lives.  El has worked hard to create the first ever 12 step program called Adults Abused Anonymous which meets weekly in Santa Rosa and very recently published her book Adults Abused as Children.

You can contact  El Chess at and

There are two stand alone shows on this page. Scroll down to listen.   

By Roberta Teller


First hour


Second hour*

Elaine Leeder: My Life with Lifers


My guest this week on Wise Woman Storytime was Elaine Leeder professor of Sociology and the Dean Emerita of the School of Social Sciences at Sonoma State University.  And while Elaine’s career encompasses roles as a professor, teacher, psychotherapist, consultant, author and advocate for social justice, Elaine has a deep commitment to the work she has done within the prison system and a special affection for the Lifers she has worked with who live their lives behind bars.     

Today’s show is about this often unspoken topic and the invisible and all too often forgotten people we consider to be the throwaways, the misfits and the incorrigible ones.  It’s a show about the prison system and the men that live, work and die there and yes, as we you will learn from her story, sometimes grow, learn and transform themselves.

Elaine’s latest book, My Life with Lifers Lessons for a Teacher: Humanity Has No Bars is a testament to the power of how education and self-help programs can be catalysts for redemption and transformation even for those who have committed horrible crimes. My Life with Lifers is actually a very uplifting and encouraging book about how even under the most dire of situations one can find peace, acceptance and freedom.  There are lessons here for all of us.

By Roberta Teller

Louise Nayer: Burned: A Story

Despite the best laid plans, we really just don’t know what will happen next. An encounter, an event, an accident can suddenly change the trajectory of our lives. Where we thought we were headed, suddenly is no more. These moments may bring us to new heights or perhaps places we never expected or wanted to go. 

My guest today on Wise Woman Storytime,  Louise Nayer was 4 years old when her family’s path veered off in a direction that no one could have foreseen.

Burned: A Memoir is Louise’s adult quest to come to terms with this life changing tragedy. It’s an exploration and discovery of the loss, suffering, pain and complexity of family relationships as well as a testament to the strength, resiliency and tenacity of this foursome.

It is a story of  healing- how each person although differently affected by tragedy, must walk their individual path to recovery and how the power of love, commitment and yes hard work, can be the glue to making the family whole again.

While Burned: A Memoir is Louise Nayer’s story, there are lessons here for everyone. 

Today you get to hear her story……

You can learn more about Louise at

By Roberta Teller


An Open Letter to Members of Congress

February, 6, 2017

Dear Senators and Members of the House of Representatives:

I believe that as a nation, we are facing one of the most challenging and darkest chapters in our history. In the first few weeks of this new administration, our current president’s actions, behaviors, and language are destabilizing our governmental agencies, institutions, working people’s financial and medical safety nets, our standing among our fellow nations and making us less safe. 

Unlike certain countries, when the leader loses the confidence of the majority of members of their government, they are  are voted out. We do not have that luxury in the United States.  Here we rely on our president to have high standards, strong ethics and a commitment to the common good.  But what happens when a president fails this test, lacks moral and ethical values and views the presidency as an opportunity to increase his own wealth and power? What happens when a president refuses to release his tax returns and to put his businesses in blind trusts? What happens when the president invites his children to co-mingle private and public business? What happens when there are unanswered questions about the involvement and influence of a foreign government interfering in our elections and the legislative representatives refuse to investigate?  What happens when the president lies, makes up “alternate facts” and denigrates the press in general while specifically attacking and making  fun of individual journalists? What happens when the president creates fake news stories to distract from what is really happening? What happens when the president’s chief strategist is a known white supremacist and now sits on the National Security Council and has more influence than the Joint Chief of Staff?   What happens when the president uses his bully pulpit to target anyone or any business person that disagrees or criticizes him? What happens to consumers when Dodd-Frank is dismantled and we are once again subjected to the lawlessness and ruthlessness of Wall Street?  (That didn’t work out too well for us in 2008 as we saw the biggest financial crisis since 1929)  What happens when the president through a poorly written, unreviewed, and mean spirited  executive order bans one religious group from 7 countries from entering the US? What happens when the newly elected  temperamentally unfit president alienates one of our closest allies and threatens to invade Mexico? 

And what happens when the  Congress – one of the checks and balances that we so rely on to maintain the integrity of our Constitution is quietly complicit? What happens when Congress ignores the looming danger signs, the conflicts of interests, the attacks on the press, the dismantling of agencies, the firing of long term personnel because they see this as the time to advance their agenda and the country be damned……..

Yes, we are a nation of laws, But what happens when those charged with the responsibilities of monitoring and reviewing the president fail to do their jobs?  What happens when questions of impropriety arise and no one holds the president accountable?

Since this new president has taken office, there have been massive marches and protests.  The people of this country see the writing on the wall.  The people of this country are inclusive, caring folks who not only respect diversity, they embrace it.  The people of this country care about women’s rights, gay rights, people of color’s rights, and immigrants rights,  The people of this country care about our planet, want species to thrive, want clean water to drink, good air to breathe and recognize the dangers of climate change. The people of this country want affordable health care, good jobs and decent pay. The people of this country want financial security and a government that has laws that protect them and prosecutes those who cause harm. The people of this country want Main Street to come before Wall Street in our elected officials priorities.

The people of this country care about the truth and want transparency, integrity and accountability from our government.

I am asking you today to put aside your partisan politics and place the good of this nation and its people as your top priority.  I am asking you today to stand with the working people, the middle class of this country who give their blood, sweat and tears and expect you to have their backs. I am asking you today to not sit idly by and watch as this president destabilizes our cherished institutions and trashes our safety nets undermining the values that this country was founded on.

Our forefathers wrote, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” The people have risen to the occasion.  With or without you,  the people will prevail.  What side of justice to do you want to be on?


Roberta Teller

SALLY CHURGEL: A Life Journey to Living with Joy


Many years ago I  watched a home perched atop a hillside in Bolinas CA slowly erode away`-so much so that one year when I made my pilgrimage back to this beloved land, the house was no longer atop the hill.  This time its splintered self was at the bottom of the hill being further shredded by the wind and waves. With it’s foundation eroded away, the home could no longer be sustained. No amount of repair was able to sustain it any longer.

In the geography of our life, our core foundation, once seemingly solid and sure, can also erode away, become compromised and no longer be able to hold and support us.  Life as we once knew it can shift, sometimes suddenly as in an earthquake, after an election or after years and years of gentle decline.

In the trajectory of our lives, if we see our core foundations weathered and crumbling, it is with awareness that we have choices. We can fall into the empty abyss and allow the elements to break us down further or we can seek a new path to surer footing where we can once again stand tall on solid ground.

My guest today saw the foundation of her life eroding away and rather than wait for the hillside to collapse sought footing on a path of self-discovery, reflection and inner work that would eventually lead her to a higher, sturdier road to renewal Today she lives in a new landscape with a panoramic view of her vision and purpose in life clearly in her horizon.

Sally is a healer, intuitive, writer, and speaker. She is the founder of Call2Joy and JoyFlow Programs. Her website is

Click on the link below to listen to her story.

By Roberta Teller


Breaking the Silence of Shame: Jacqueline Grace Hayward’s Story

My guest this past week on KOWS Wise Woman Storytime was actor, director and drama therapist and teacher of improvisational theater, Jacqueline Grace Hayward.  Jacqueline shared her deeply personal story about shame; its impact on her life, and more importantly, how she has healed herself through creativity and sheer determination..  

Shame is the most primitive of emotions and yet it is rarely spoken aloud. Secrecy, silence and judgement fuel its fires.  Left unspoken, shame can fester over a lifetime creating an inner world of inadequacy, unworthiness, dishonor or regret.  It frequently leads to feelings of being flawed, bad and disconnected from our most essential being.  

But this is not a story about victimhood. Instead it is a woman’s journey about finding herself amidst feeling disconnected from her own truth and power.

Carol Gilligan said, “Bringing the experiences of women to full light, although in one sense perfectly straightforward, becomes a radical endeavor.”

Jacqueline Grace Hayward is speaking the unspeakable and breaking her silence. She speaks for the silenced and those guarding their secrets. Her story is truly a radical endeavor and an act of courage.

The link to the audio of the show is below.  If you would like to contact Jacqueline, you can reach her at

After the show aired I received the following from Jacqueline………She would like to share this with you. 

I had an extraordinary, deep experience after I left you. I went into the longest, deepest shame I have ever been in, and cried for hours. Then woke in the night and went back into it again, aching and sobbing. And I felt like a liar for having just said on the radio that I have almost got this shame thing licked! What was new, though, is that I was crying. I have never experienced shame and tears together before, and I felt as if I was simultaneously experiencing shame and grief. 
The open door for the shame was my answer to your question about how/ who I am now. My response was a negative, in a sense: that I still have work to do because I do not yet know that I can have the life I want. I felt such huge self-abandonment in that answer because what is moving through me now, as of last winter, is radically transformative. I let go of a life-long persona of being brave (which in my vocabulary is associated with being strong in the face of difficulty, lack, settling for, doing it all myself, the image of small fists raised…) and am practicing courage instead. Courage is soft, open, connected, receptive, self-loving and self-caring, the image of wide-spread arms. Courage, for me, as a woman who knows how to be strong and knows how to give, is opening into generously receiving, allowing myself to honor my heart’s desire and to invite in the experience of safety and ease. 


The link to the audio of the show is below.  If you would like to contact Jacqueline, you can reach her at

By Roberta Teller

Listener discretion advised as it includes some sexual content.

Mary Carouba: Each One Teach One

My guest this past week on Wise woman Storytime , Mary Carouba, had some hard beginnings.  A troubled childhood took her on a path of numbing out, acting out and giving up on life. Bottomed out in her early 20’s, life seemed dismal and hopeless.  Mary didn’t know who she was, had no idea what life might have to offer and truly thought that she would not live a long life.

But life didn’t work out that way.  When Mary entered Delancey Street  her life and her outlook on life would forever be changed. It was there that Mary discovered who really she was – and it wasn’t that numbed out drug addict- but instead a woman with tremendous gifts, a loving and caring heart and someone who understood the power of reaching out and helping others, known in the community as “Each one teach one.”

Today, Mary lives by Delancy Street’s credo. She has infused this philosophy into every aspect of her many careers, her life and  world view.  Whether through her profession as a treatment program coordinator, social worker, consultant, stand-up comic or her speaking engagements, writings,  service and work, Mary is dedicated to helping others,  She is committed to helping others see the endless possibilities for their own lives and through her own example offers hope and possibility for all.

Mary Carouba walks the talk.  “Each one teach one”  is at the heart of who she is and how she lives. Listen to her inspiring story.  There are lessons here for all of us.

By Roberta Teller


Two Hearts Four Hands Cooking Together: Sulin Bell’s Story






My guest this week on Wise Woman Storytime is entrepreneur extraordinaire and author Sulin Bell.  Sulin’s newly revised cookbook is called Two Hearts Four Hands Cooking Together, and is as unique and original as she is.

This very specially designed and crafted cookbook is really a metaphor and manifestation of the the most important threads of Sulin’s life. It’s a testament to her convictions about living fully and healthily and offers 25 nutritious and delicious meal menus (with several dishes) for two people to prepare together. This one of a kind cookbook provides separate but interactive instructions for each cook.

Two Hearts Four Hands is quite different from your typical cookbook It’s way more than just putting some ingredients together and serving it to yourself, friends or family.  This cookbook is a recipe for quality time with a loved one, good fun, and a shared creative endeavor. It’s about a lovingly crafted and guided collaborative cooking experience culminating with a delicious and nourishing meal………Meals can be tailored to your individual intentions and moods such as “Feelin’ Homey, “Romantic,” or “A New Relationship.”

And while how you choose to share your food is ultimately up to you, Sulin offers thoughtful suggestions for creating the right ambience whether you are cooking with your lover, spouse, friend, child  or acquaintance. She even offers music to accompany you while you are preparing your meal.

This is a very special book written by an amazing woman.  It’s a wonderful engagement, wedding, anniversary, holiday or special gift for yourself.

To hear Sulin’s story click on the audio link below. 

For more information and a closer look at the cookbook, check out her website at .

If you are a west county local, Two Hearts Four Hands is available at Cultivate Home on Main Street in Sebastopol.

If you have a questions about the book or are looking for a caterer, you can contact Sulin at

And when you are ready to order the book, call Sulin directly at 707-462-5747 and get free shipping.

It’s a wonderful engagement, wedding, anniversary, holiday or special gift for yourself.

By Roberta Teller